Meet a Member: Nick Hardcastle

Meet Nick Hardcastle, originally from ‘Summer Bay’ Australia who moved to LA from London five years ago to pursue the sunshine!

Was there a particular reason you chose LA? 

I had been living in London for 5 years when I won the Diversity immigrant (Greencard) Lottery. After paying an agency to enter me for ten years and then thinking that I’d been scammed, I was in total shock to win it on my sixth attempt.  I was working in commercial theatre in London’s West End and everyone assumed that I would go to New York but I was desperate to get back near the beach and in the sun. So in spite of not knowing LA very well, or having any clue about what I might do, I got my Green Card sorted and packed two suitcases and left a very grim London winter behind.

What do you miss most from home?

Well, Sawtell in New South Wales is my ‘home’ and there are a lot of things that I miss – but I do think of London as my spiritual home. I miss the British sensibility.  I’ve been back to the UK an average of four times a year since I left so I have managed my withdrawals and I’m lucky to have some great British friends here to give me a fix when I need it.  From London I miss black cabs, the tube, walking across Waterloo bridge, Pret-A-Manger’s bacon, cheese and tomato pastries, Waitrose, PROPER pubs, the Christmas lights, electric kettles, The Groucho and being able to see an incredible show at the theatre any night of the week!

What was your first impression of LA and has it changed since? 

My first visit here was in 2003. I was thinking about moving to LA, New York or London after I’d finished the next season of the TV show I was hosting at the time in Australia. I arrived and pretty much hated it. I thought it was a wasteland. I didn’t know many people and I stayed most of the time down in Long Beach so my experience of coming in to Hollywood was mostly the freeway. It felt closed off to me. The city feels more culturally diverse now – it’s not just a Film and TV town. The tech, fashion and business growth here has been incredible and great people from all over the States and the world have been arriving in droves which has been awesome.

What do you find the biggest difference is living here versus London?

The weather. That’s easily the biggest difference. LA is on the Pacific and California has a lot of similarities in the climate and lifestyle of Australia so I’ve found those elements really comforting. Although LA can be really tough though – just like London, at least in LA if you’re having a hard time you can get outside under the blue sky and sunshine and go for a hike up the canyon pretty much any day of the year or throw yourself in the ocean.

Do you have a hidden gem in LA that you want to share with us?

There’s so many hidden gems in the city – every neighborhood has them. But get out of Weho and Hollywood occasionally and go east to find the best ones. If you haven’t been to Chapman Plaza in Koreatown then you’re missing out big time. I also really love the kitschy nautical themed bar HMS Bounty around the corner in the Gaylord Apartments.

What would you suggest to others who are thinking about making the move here? 

Come and spend some time here first and be sure you want to live here – not just visit.  Developing and nurturing your personal and professional relationships here is so important because it can otherwise be a very isolating, fractured and lonely city due to its vast, sprawling landscape.

Lots of our members join our group Brits in LA seeking out words of wisdom – what is the best piece of advice you’ve been given? 

Actively seeking ways to contribute is a great way to increase your network and enhance your experience here. We are all much stronger when we collaborate and help elevate each other as a community – that’s why groups like Brits in LA are so important!